How to Get to Agua Azul Waterfalls from Palenque
Agua Azul Waterfalls altogether with Misol-Ha Waterfall is a popular one-day trip from Palenque, a town well-known for its ruins. Read our guide on how to get to Agua Azul from Palenque independently.
Close to the town of Palenque, in Mexico's state Chiapas, you can find Agua Azul Cascadas alias Blue Water Waterfalls.
Although many travelers are headed to Palenque because of outstanding ruins, the crystal blue waters of Agua Azul Waterfall are another reason why to visit this part of Mexico.
When we were traveling to Palenque, we planned on visiting both worthwhile sites on the Palenque - Ocosigno road, but because we were in Mexico at the end of the dry season, we opted to see only Agua Azul, because Misol-Ha Waterfall was dry at this time of the year.
When planning your visit, always ask locals in Palenque, how is the situation with water that month - and try not to ask the owner of a travel agency.
Agua Azul is also seasonal as during rainy season the blue water is less obvious because the water is mixed with mud, but the cascades are still impressive.
HOW TO GET FROM PALENQUE TO AGUA AZUL
There are two options on how to get from Palenque to Agua Azul.
You can either take a tour which combines Agua Azul and Misol-Ha, or travel by a colectivo - a small van which leaves Palenque when full.
We opted to travel independently, so we got up one day in the morning, and set off to wait for a minivan in front of ADO bus terminal, where many colectivos pass by (you can wait here when you want to get to Palenque Ruins).
We needed to flag down colectivo going to Ocosigno, but after a half an hour waiting, we found out that we should be standing somewhere else (the thing is colectivos to Ocosigno drive around ADO bus terminal, but don't have any visible sign plus are often already full, and don't stop).
In order to catch colectivo to Ocosigno, you need to go a bit further to the crossroad of Benito Juarez and 5a. Pte Sur.
From here, colectivos leave when full, approximately every 30 minutes.
We told the driver to drop us off at Agua Azul and paid Mx 50 per person.
The drive from Palenque took approximately an hour and a half on a quite bumpy and zigzag road, and we were happy when it was over. The colectivo dropped us off on a turn off to Agua Azul, and here we had to take a taxi to the entrance of the falls for another Mx 50.
We did not have to wait at all, it seems that there is always a car or two waiting for tourists.
Although the entrance is approximately 3 kilometers away, it is not recommended to walk because of the safety reasons.
To get back from Agua Azul to Palenque, we had to follow our steps in reverse order. We took a taxi from the parking lot in Agua Azul for Mx 50 and then waited for a colectivo going from Ocosigno to Palenque.
If you want to go to Misol-Ha Waterfall as well, you need to ask the driver to drop you off on a crossroad closer to Palenque.
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ENTRANCE FEE TO AGUA AZUL
As of 2019, the entrance fee to Agua Azul is Mx 50 per person.
When we were getting nearer to the gate, the taxi driver told us to close windows - apparently, there is another, unofficial stand where people can ask you for money, but they don't stop the car when they cannot see anyone inside.
Chiapas State is one of the poorest areas in Mexico, with many problems including illiteracy and child work.
When traveling by your rental car (or even by colectivo), it can happen that kids barricade the road and won't let you pass until you buy some sweets or fruits from them. In case you don't want to give them money, drive slowly, lock yourself in the car, and keep your windows closed (it is probably easier to buy something).
Also, the road between Palenque, Ocosigno and San Cristobal de las Casas in not safe nowadays, especially the stretch between Ocosigno and San Cristobal, because of the war of gangs. No bus companies operate on this road, and when we wanted to get from Palenque to San Cristobal, we had to take a detour.
Colectivos travel this road, but drivers often have to pay gangs to pass safely.
If you travel by a rental car, exercise caution, when stopped by a blockade, either turn around or pay cash to a gang member, who should let you continue.
After we got off the car, we walked through a large number of vendor stalls, had a couple of tacos for early lunch, and then followed a well-designated path leading to the falls.
The path led uphill through the jungle, but since there were many viewing platforms and places to take pictures, it was not demanding at all because we were proceeding slowly.
Honestly, we did not know much what to expect from Agua Azul and were pleasantly surprised.
The place reminded us a bit Semuc Champey in Guatemala.
After we reached the biggest waterfalls, and generally the highlight here, we continued upon the man-made trail, and soon emerged closer to small falls and pools where we could swim and cool off a bit. '
We carried on for a while until we got to a flat path, where locals washed their close in the river, and it was a place where we decided to turn around and walk back to the main gate.
WHERE TO STAY IN PALENQUE
Although Palenque is not exactly on the backpackers' trail, many people make a worthwhile detour to see famous Palenque Ruins are waterfalls nearby.
Travelers can find here more and more accommodation options, and the standard of hotels is increasing as well.
Here you can find three best hotels in Palenque for every budget.
Budget | Hotel Naj Kin - The hotel is centrally located and within walking distance from ADO bus terminal. Rooms are clean, and all of them have a private bathroom for a very cheap rate.
Mid-range | Hotel Maya Rue - Close to the center of Palenque town, this well-rated hotel offers the best value for money in Palenque. Air-conditioned rooms and complimentary breakfast are nice touches.
Luxury | Hotel Boutique Quinta Chanabnal - Excellent hotel set in a tropical garden has an outstanding room design, outdoor pool, and spa.
Alternatively, search for your accommodation via Hostelworld.
WHAT TO PACK FOR VISITING AGUA AZUL
You don't need to pack many things for visiting Agua Azul on a one-day trip, especially when traveling in the dry season when the weather is hot and humid all day long.
We think it is essential to pack the following three things.
Dry Backpack | Anytime we know that we will be near water, we always carry dry backpack to keep our valuables safe.
GoPro | Adventure camera is a good investment when you plan on active vacation.
TRAVEL INSURANCE - SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE
We never leave our home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials.
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